Let's talk about rejections!

Neue Antwort am 5. Juni 2023
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Anonym A fragte am 2. Juni 2023

So today, I received a rejection from a specific consulting firm in the Middle East. For context, I had case coaching sessions with this specific firm earlier and my case buddies were really happy with my performance. Also, this was a firm I really connected with, and had really envisioned myself working with them. I have had previous consulting interview experience where I know, in hindsight, I could have done better in fit/case. This time, however, I know I did well. I may be biased about my performance, but I am happy with how I performed on fit and the case. The interviewer was a nice person but from the very beginning, I knew he was distracted by something because he was looking at his screen constantly. I tried my best to ignore that and still remained calm and positive throughout the entire session. After the interview, I felt good about my performance. My only worry, however, was that the interviewer was a bit stiff compared to other interviewers I met at different consulting firms. But I tried not to think about it anymore because whatever happened then is beyond my control now. And 24 hours, I get a rejection email…

I am someone who always tries to learn from undesired outcomes and takes full ownership of my behaviors. I also know this is a temporary setback in the grand scheme of things. I do not know why, but I just feel so exhausted and to be quite honest, I think many of us who are in a similar place to mine feel that way. On that note, I would love to hear more about how rejections turned into successes for some of the amazing coaches and aspiring consultants here, as well as hear how it was redirection for the rest of you. And for the rest of us, who are going through something similar to me, I hope you know you are not alone.





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Content Creator
antwortete am 4. Juni 2023
#1 McKinsey Coach by rating & recommendation rate

Hey there,

First of all, I love your mindset. It means absolutely nothing that you got rejected because you're approaching it in the right spirit. 

Success in life is usually the tip of the iceberg. Rejections are the enormous mass that lies underneath. 

Candidates often ask me about my own success and having accumulated experience studying or working in prestigious brands such as McKinsey, Oxford, etc. The reality is that I got rejected by many many many things as well. I just kept on going. And I still do. In whatever I've come across in life, I've noticed that resilience trumps any other skill. 

What does help though, is always to take a step back and do a post-mortem. Take your journal, or a blank sheet of paper and think with a pen in hand. What went well in that situation? What didn't go well? Why? What could you have done differently? What can you learn from it? How will you be doing things differently from now on? How can you ensure that you will indeed do things differently from now on? How will you make sure you don't forget about all this? How can you break down this plan in actionable steps stretching ahead from the coming days to the coming years?

At the end of the day, you need to trust yourself and your power to get up every time you get kicked to the ground. If you achieve that, there's nothing that can stop you. 

Best of luck my friend!

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antwortete am 2. Juni 2023
300+ coached cases | Former McKinsey interviewer + recruiting lead| End-to-end prep in 2 weeks

Hi there,

First of all, I want to say I'm sorry to hear about your recent experience. It can be incredibly frustrating when you've prepared so thoroughly and felt a genuine connection with a firm, only to receive a rejection. It's important to remember, however, that these rejections are often not a reflection of your worth or potential, but can be due to a variety of factors out of your control - in this case, it could be as simple as a distracted interviewer.

I've been through a similar experience and understand the disappointment and exhaustion you're feeling. But let me assure you that every 'no' is one step closer to a 'yes'. Each rejection is a chance to learn, grow, and strengthen your resolve. In my case, I was rejected by several firms I felt a deep connection with. It was heartbreaking, but I used these experiences to hone my interview skills, refine my CV, and network more effectively.

Ultimately, I found success, not with my initial choices, but with a firm that offered an incredible opportunity that I had not considered before. It turned out to be a much better fit for me, both professionally and personally. In hindsight, those rejections were the redirection I needed to find the right path.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all path in consulting. Different firms have different cultures, values, and work styles, and it's about finding the one that aligns best with you. Keep believing in yourself, keep learning from every experience, and don't let this setback dim your passion and determination. You have a community here that supports you and shares your experiences.

Your future success story is just around the corner. Don't stop believing that.

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Anonym B antwortete am 3. Juni 2023

Mate, I am a fellow candidate who has faced something very similar to what you have - more than once. It is devastating at best, depressing at worst. 

After a certain point in time you will stop giving any shit to any of your interviews regardless of the consulting firm. 

It's a whole vicious bubble around consulting and especially around MBB. I have seen many candidates spend years of their life preparing for these interviews, ultimately not living their lives. 

The best approach is to forget about it without any regrets - you did your ultimate best!!

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Ian am 4. Juni 2023

Could not agree more! It is not the end-all-be-all. Like anything in life, shoot for the moon, but move on if you don't hit it. Throughout life there will be defeats/setbacks and also accomplishments. Can never put anything on a pedestool as the holy grail (if you do, even when/if you achieve it, you'll realize it wasn't all that).

Content Creator
antwortete am 3. Juni 2023
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

What a post!

Love this and thank you for sharing. (I don't love the rejection, but I love how you're approaching it).

A few things: 

First - You Have Company

Just yesterday one of the best candidates I've seen in a while also got rejected by a Middle East consultancy. He/she was in the third and final round.

I couldn't believe it. They were the perfect candidate. My conclusion: The pipeline just dropped out under this firm (it was a 2month interview process…a lot can change).

I don't think it's unlikely a similar thing happened to you.

Second - 100% This is a Blip in the Road

I recruited for BCG when I was an undergrad. Rejected (I had no idea what I was doing).

6 years later I was working there.

I've had candidates who fail interviews 2 years in a row. Then they come to me and nail interviews in their 3rd year.

This is one company. One interview

Third - This isn't about you or your character

Even the best candidates don't always get offers. It's probability. It's a numbers game. That's why I always emphasize applying to many firms.

If I'm chasing a job, or pitching my coaching to a candidate, or closing in on a workshop/training contract with a university or firm, do you know what the highest % I go in my head as to the liklihood they go ahead?


Even the most likely/confident talks/processes I never think I have a greater than 50% of them actualing pursuing my services. Why? That's just how the world is

Fourth - You never know where this will lead

I loved working at Appian.

Hands down the best job (until now) that I've ever had.

I am so glad I didn't work for BCG out of undergrad. It would have been terrible for me. 

Appian built me, trained me, gave me confidence, gave me close friendships etc. 

I finally got BCG 6 years later, and guess what? I quit after 2 years! Why? It wasn't for me! Don't get me wrong, if I went back in time I would still 100% do it. It's the Navy Seals. Once you're in, and you get the brand + training + network, you can do what you want. It was 100% worth it. But, it wasn't the “solution” to my career/life!

This ME firm wasn't for you! Move on to the next great thing :)


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antwortete am 2. Juni 2023
Top-Ranked Coach on PrepLounge for 3 years| McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 6+ years of coaching


I'm sorry to hear about your experience - it can be particularly crushing to get a rejection email after you feel like you've performed to the best of your ability. Unfortunately, a lot of the recruiting process is confusing, highly subjective, and outside of your control. The vast majority of candidates receive some rejections + some acceptances, so please don't take 1 rejection as an indicator of your ability or ultimate outcome in the process. Take some time off to rest and recover after what I'm sure was an intense preparation sprint, and then keep applying!

I'm happy to share my rejection story with you in case it's helpful to hear a tangible example of how this happens to almost everyone. When I was going through the recruiting cycle, I got final round interviews at Bain and McKinsey, 1 week apart from each other. I gave it my all during the prep process, and when I went to my Bain interview, I felt like there was nothing else I could have done to prepare better - I was at my personal maximum. The interview flew by and I felt like I'd absolutely nailed it - I seemed to have established a good rapport with the interviewers, I solved the cases quickly and correctly, my math was spot on, etc. Imagine my disappointment when I got a rejection call two days later. I freaked out because my McKinsey interview was coming up in just a few days, and I had no idea how I could improve! Luckily, with the help of supportive friends and coaches, I was able to calm down, take a little break to calm down and destress, and keep up some interview prep to ensure I could do my best with McKinsey. I walked into that interview, gave what felt like a pretty solid performance, and hoped for the best. Hours later, I got a call with good news, and the rest is history! It happens to almost everyone (I also got several rejections at the application stage from other firms) - you are absolutely not alone!

Keep your head up, and good luck!

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Emilia antwortete am 5. Juni 2023

Hi, I can relate to your experience of facing rejections from consulting firms. I know how frustrating and demoralizing it can be to put in so much effort and not get the results you want. But don’t give up on your dreams! Rejections are not a reflection of your worth or potential, they are just a part of the learning process. You can always improve your skills and try again with a different strategy or approach.

I was in a similar situation as you a few months ago. I applied to several consulting firms and got rejected by all of them. I felt like I had wasted my time and energy on something that was not meant for me. But then I found out about CodeIT, a company that provides software development solutions for various clients and industries. I was impressed by their portfolio and their values, and I decided to apply for a software developer position there. To my surprise, I got an interview and then an offer!

I’m very happy with my current job and I feel like I’m making a positive impact with my work. I’m not saying that consulting is not a good career choice, but it’s not the only one. There are many other fields and industries that you can explore and find your niche in. You just have to be open-minded and willing to learn new things. Don’t let rejections define you or discourage you from pursuing your goals. You have what it takes to succeed, you just need to find the right fit for you.

I hope this comment helps you feel more motivated and inspired. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

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Content Creator
antwortete am 3. Juni 2023
McKinsey & Co. | Mentor & Coach for 4+ yrs | 80+ trainees | Columbia MBA


spot on!

You have no idea how many times I have heard such stories. And they are a real pity. But I would like to emphasize 3 times what you have already said. It is not this rejection that will condition the grand scheme.

Over and over again I have witnessed stories of people who were rejected from their target firm and either (i) succeeded in getting their job offer on the second try or (ii) they started working at another firm that they now love and see as a great fit with them.

I personally am always of the opinion that if something happens it is for a reason. It might be unfair and unmotivated but it is a step that contributes to our experience.

The important thing is that, at the end of the day, you are satisfied with yourself and are able to say "I gave my best and more than that I could not do." And the rest, I guarantee, will come. Definitely.

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