Why Three College Graduates Turned Down Offers at Top Consulting and Tech Firms

We spoke with three graduates who considered long-term career investments when choosing their first job.

Choosing the right opportunity out of college is essential to establishing a long-term, upward career trajectory.


We spoke with three graduates who enjoyed their previous internships in tech and consulting, yet they pursued McMaster-Carr’s Management Development opportunity because of the clear advancement, work-life balance, and the chance to take on high-impact responsibilities early on in their careers. Curious if you should make a similar choice? Here are the major reasons these graduates felt that joining McMaster-Carr was a long-term investment in their careers.


McMaster-Carr gives new graduates a head start on their management career.

It’s rare to manage people a few years out of college. At McMaster-Carr, young leaders hone their management skills early on, leading teams as soon as their first year at the company.


“I’ve met so many people who have worked at a firm for 3-4 years and the only way for them to move up to management is to go back to school to get an MBA,” said Emiko, a 2018 USC graduate who turned down a return offer with a leading global tech company. “I knew I would have management roles early on in my career at McMaster-Carr, which was a huge part of my decision to accept the job.”


Ibukun, a Harvard grad who also turned down a role at one of the biggest names in tech, cited the early management experience as a major reason he chose McMaster-Carr.


“I’ve learned time management skills, performance management, and how to communicate effectively and efficiently,” he said. “I also now have perspective on the weight of the decisions I make as a manager. When people are relying on you – you make sure you’re being really thorough and considerate about everything you do.”


McMaster-Carr offers opportunities to make an impact soon after joining.

Briana, currently in Management Development, wanted something different out of her career. As a business student at UC Berkeley, she saw her peers pursue accounting, banking, or consulting. And with a prestigious consulting internship under her belt, Briana had the option to pursue that path. However, she wanted more ownership over her projects and exposure to different parts of a business. 


“I wanted to feel like I was making an impact,” said Briana. “In consulting, you make a slide deck with great recommendations but after you present it, it’s out of your hands. I couldn’t see the results of my work, and seeing results is something that motivates me.”


Briana saw an opportunity with McMaster-Carr to have a broader scope of work than she had in previous internships. Instead of starting her career siloed into one role, she could gain exposure to multiple departments while also participating in cross-departmental meetings and tackling projects that have a real impact on the business. 


“I have the ownership and autonomy in my role to find a problem, come up with a solution to make it better, and then implement it,” said Briana. “I’ve been with the company for a year and I already see the results of my work.”


The promise of big-picture thinking and high-impact work was also a draw for Ibukun. His prior internship was focused on day-to-day customer experience and involved handling client requests, which made the role responsive in nature and smaller in scope. Ibukun preferred to dive into the high-impact at McMaster-Carr.


“McMaster-Carr has an environment where you get a lot of responsibility early on and you have the chance to define your own success,” said Ibukun. “In my previous internship, my days felt very predictable and there wasn’t the same kind of opportunity to make big decisions in your day-to-day work. I didn’t feel I would be challenged in the way I wanted if I accepted my return offer.”


McMaster-Carr invests in the long-term career growth of its employees by offering robust programs for professional development.

In addition to all the lessons managers learn on the job, McMaster-Carr’s Management Development path also offers formal mentorship programs, training for software development, and regular meetings with managers for coaching and advice.


“Every manager I’ve ever had at McMaster has taken a deep interest in my development,” said Emiko. “It’s clear that McMaster-Carr considers its employees a long-term investment, because they invest significant time, money, and energy into my career growth.”


McMaster-Carr’s investment in people reaches well beyond the company’s walls to include tuition benefits for any college program, including an MBA.


Briana has already taken advantage of this benefit since joining the company. She’s taken several classes – including micro-economics and an oil painting class – and is now enrolled at University of Chicago as a ‘Graduate Student-At-Large,’ which allows her to take classes and then transfer the credits if she decides she wants to pursue an MBA.


“I’m someone that always wants to learn,” said Briana. “So it’s an amazing benefit to be able to take classes that intrigue me.”


As a recent graduate, she also values how applicable the educational benefit is: “It’s such a different experience taking classes while you’re working, compared to being a full-time student. You can actually bring what you learn in class to the workplace and apply that knowledge directly.”


Employees do great work, but are encouraged to lead fulfilling lives outside of the office.

It’s possible to have a culture of hard work and excellence without requiring 60+ hour weeks – and McMaster-Carr is evidence of that. One significant difference between a role at McMaster-Carr and roles in finance, consulting, or tech is that at McMaster-Carr, it’s possible to have a healthy work-life balance without sacrificing things like great compensation and a driven, ambitious environment. 


“When I first started, I wondered how everyone got so much done without taking their work home or working long hours,” said Briana. “You hear about work-life balance all the time when interviewing for various companies, but they really mean it here. I work with so many passionate, driven people who do great work, and still enjoy their lives outside of work.”


Ibukun also credits the culture of work-life balance at McMaster-Carr as the reason he can explore his interests in data analytics, coding, and creative spaces in Atlanta. “It’s been a smooth way to transition into adulthood, which is an incredible benefit.” 


After graduation it’s important to find a role that can help you achieve your career goals, as well as a company that’s invested in your long-term development. If you’re a student looking to jumpstart your career, continue your education, and tackle impactful projects without sacrificing work-life balance, consider McMaster-Carr – it might just be the perfect place for you to begin your career.

Learn more about Management Development at McMaster-Carr here.


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